Bigger day for Stampeders Tate

Stamps QB Drew Tate in Calgary October 29, 2010. Jim Wells/QMI Agency

Stamps QB Drew Tate in Calgary October 29, 2010. Jim Wells/QMI Agency

Wes Gilbertson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:40 PM ET

CALGARY - They’re the big, bad Montreal Alouettes.

He’s the brand new quarterback.

Sounds like intimidating stuff, but it’s not the first time Calgary Stampeders starter Drew Tate has been at the controls as an underdog.

“When I was a little kid and I’d play Nintendo and I’d play Madden, I’d always put it on Madden mode instead of rookie,” Tate said.

“You only get better by playing the best, and that reveals how good of a player you are, too. So this is going to be fun to get out there and play those guys. This is my third year here, and the last two times we went out to Montreal, we got smoked. That’s definitely not in the plans this year for us.”

Molson Percival Stadium hasn’t exactly been a desirable destination for the Stamps, who were whipped 46-19 by the Alouettes last fall and suffered a 32-11 loss in Montreal two years ago.

During Sunday’s road meeting with the two-time defending Grey Cup champions (11 a.m., TSN, QR77), Tate will try to snap Calgary’s recent skid in La Belle Province.

“It’s a big challenge,” said Stamps offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson. “First off, they’re good. They’re going to be aggressive. No throw goes unchallenged — there’s always a player that is going to be there. It’s on the road, there’s noise ...

“It’s certainly a huge challenge for our team and I just hope (Tate) does his part and increases his production and gives us that chance to win at the end. I have confidence in him that if we’re there in the fourth quarter, we’ll get it done.”

Tate seems to have the full confidence of his Stamps teammates, too, despite having only one professional start on his resume.

In fact, he’s already sparked comparisons to one of the CFL’s most accomplished gunslingers.

After the first-time starter tossed for 250 yards in a 25-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, Stamps slotback Nik Lewis noted Tate and Dickenson are “a lot alike in the way that they play.”

Running back Jon Cornish agreed “their playing styles are the same and they are both intense guys.”

Stamps supporters would be thrilled if the 27-year-old Tate turns out to be a second coming of Dickenson, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2000 and a future Canadian Football Hall-of-Famer.

“I never want to put a comparison on anybody,” Dickenson said earlier this week, anxious to shy away from the topic. “When I was first in the league, they were comparing me to (Doug) Flutie, and that was not the case.”

Press him a bit further, though, and Calgary’s offensive co-ordinator and play-caller will admit there are a few similarities.

For starters, they have a lot of the same physical attributes.

“Similar attitude, too,” Dickenson said. “I don’t think he’s that concerned with talking to media or how he looks out there, it’s about one goal and one goal only. He’s very competitive, doesn’t say a lot once the game gets going. He’s got fire. I wasn’t much of a yeller but during the game, what had to be done had to be done, and Drew is the same deal. Just more of a leader by example than by words out of his mouth, and those are similar qualities that I tried to play with.”

Those leadership qualities should come in handy against the Alouettes.

Although Tate is flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dickenson, the former Iowa Hawkeyes star insisted he’s only worried about leading the Red & White to a second consecutive win.

“I’ve got a long ways to go before I can even scratch the surface of what Dave did in this league,” Tate said. “It’s nice to hear people mention those things, but it’s premature to me.”


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